Helots and The Masters in Laconia and Messenia: Histories, Ideologies, Structures

  Luraghi, Nino, and Susan E. Alcock, eds. 2003. Helots and Their Masters in Laconia and Messenia: Histories, Ideologies, Structures. Hellenic Studies Series 4. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_LuraghiN_AlcockS_eds.Helots_and_Their_Masters.2003.

Chapter 3. Conquerors and Serfs: Wars of Conquest and Forced Labour in Archaic Greece

Hans van Wees

1. Serfdom in three archaic empires

Even our best evidence for serfdom in early Greece is severely limited and has only reached us through the filter of classical and hellenistic historiography. Yet it is enough to show that at least three groups of serfs in the Peloponnese were created by conquest in the archaic age: Sparta’s Messenian helots, Sicyon’s “kat ô nak ê— wearers”, and the “naked people” of Argos.

The Messenian helots

Whatever the changes, there can be little doubt that the Messenians experienced fundamentally the same regime from the first conquest to their liberation some three centuries later in 370 BC: a state of serfdom imposed as a result of conquest.

The “katônakê-wearers” of Sicyon

It seems obvious that we should put two and two together and identify Sicyon’s serf population as the “enslaved” Pelleneans and Donoussans, subjected to Sicyon’s short-lived empire and forced to submit to humiliations of which wearing slave dress was only the least.

Supporting evidence for this identification comes from Herodotus’ initially baffling story about the reforms instigated by Cleisthenes of Sicyon (5.68):

He changed the names of the Dorian tribes, so that the Sicyonians and the Argives would not have the same ones. In doing so, he also made a great mockery of the Sicyonians, for he gave them names which derived from the words “pig” and “ass” with changed endings, with the exception of his own tribe, which he gave a name derived from his own position of power. The latter, then, were called Rulers of the People (archelaoi), but the others Swine People (hyatai), Donkey People (oneatai) and Pig People (choireatai). The Sicyonians used these names for the tribes not only while Cleisthenes ruled but for another sixty years after his death. Then, after discussion, they changed them to the usual Hylleis, Pamphyloi and Dymanates, but added a fourth which they gave a name derived from Aigialeus, son of Adrastus, and called Aigialeis.

As Herodotus tells it, the story is very odd. How could Cleisthenes give four new names to three old tribes? Why would a ruler with a reputation as a popular leader want to insult the majority of his potential supporters? Why would the Sicyonians have put up with their insulting labels for half a century after the fall of the tyranny? {39|40} Who were the Aigialeis assigned to a new tribe when the rest eventually reverted to their old tribal system?

With this as a starting point, we can begin to understand what had happened under Cleisthenes. When he subjected neighbouring communities, he added insult to injury by giving their defeated inhabitants shameful names—the “donkeys” reminiscent of Messenians laden with tribute like beasts of burden, the “swine” and “pigs” emblematic of extreme rusticity—just as he prescribed for them a shameful style of dress. The conquering citizens of Sicyon, on the other hand, united against their new subjects, adopted the appropriate title “leaders of the people”. This explains how there could be more names than there had been tribes, why these names were offensive, and why they continued in use long after Cleisthenes’ death yet were ultimately abolished: the system lasted for as long as the Sicyonians retained power, but was abandoned as soon as their micro-empire fell apart.

The “naked people” of Argos

Ancient lists of statuses “between free men and slaves” regularly include the gumnetes or gumnesioi, “the naked people”, of Argos. [25] They are almost certainly to be identified with a group variously called “slaves” or perioikoi, “dwellers-around”, who were temporarily granted citizen-rights in the early fifth century when thousands of Argive soldiers had been massacred by the Spartans after the battle of Sepeia. [26] According to Herodotus,

A different account was given by Aristotle, who said that the Argives “were forced to admit some of the perioikoi to citizenship” (Politics 1303a6-8), and by the local historian Socrates of Argos, who insisted that after the battle “in order to remedy the shortage of men, they made the women marry, not slaves, as Herodotus claims, but the best of the perioikoi, who were made citizens” (FGrHist 310 F 6). Aristotle {41|42} used the term perioikoi to mean a subject rural population which cultivated land for its masters—in his ideal city, all farming would be done “by slaves or barbarian perioikoi” (Politics 1330a25-31)—and elsewhere we find perioikoi used as a synonym for “helots”. [
28] Clearly, Herodotus’ story was simply a hostile version of the same tale: with conservative outrage and exaggeration, his sources condemned the admission of rural serfs to citizenship as a surrender of all power to mere “slaves”.

2. Greek colonists and “barbarian” serfs

Something similar happened when the Megarians founded Byzantium, c. 660 BC, since we are told by the third-century historian Phylarchus that the relationship between Byzantines and native Bithynians was the same as that between Spartans and helots (FGrHist 81 F 8).

These three Greek settlements overseas may be the only ones where barbarian serfs are explicitly attested, but the fact that we have only a single chance reference to their existence in a city as prominent as Byzantium suggests that our evidence reveals, as Nick Fisher put it, “only a few tips of a large number of nasty icebergs” (1993: 33).

One further instance of “colonial” serfdom perhaps just breaks the surface in Herodotus’ account of Cyrene, a city which in around 570 BC, two generations after its foundation, attracted large numbers of additional settlers by promising a distribution of land at the expense of its neighbours, the native Libyans, who “were deprived {46|47} of their territory and treated with great hubris by the Cyrenaeans” (4.159). This choice of words may suggest subjection rather than expulsion. In any case, when the Libyans’ resistance had been crushed, they were evidently reduced to some subordinate status, because we are told that about two decades later, c. 550 BC, they “revolted from the Cyrenaeans” (4.160). In the fighting which ensued, 7,000 Cyrenaean hoplites are said to have fallen, and the immediate response was a reform in which all settlers, old and new, were grouped into three tribes: one for “all the islanders”, one for “the Peloponnesians and Cretans”, and one for “the Theraians and the perioikoi” (4.161). It is hard to see who these perioikoi might have been if not Libyans, or why they would have been given citizenship if they had not previously already been a subject part of the community, rather than merely neighbours. [42] The most plausible scenario for these events again runs parallel to events at Sicyon and Argos: conquest creates a serf population, but eventually a major military setback leads to the loss of much conquered territory, the enfranchisement of the remaining serfs, and a tribal reform. [43]

Serfs, perioikoi and the “Dorian migration”

Helots and perioikoi in Laconia

More complete integration of the Laconian helots explains why they proved comparatively loyal to Sparta when a Theban army liberated Messenia in 370 BC. Thousands took up a Spartan offer of freedom in exchange for military service against the invaders, rather than rebelling and taking the Thebans’ side (Xenophon, Hellenica 6.5.28-9). The extent of their loyalty should in any case not be overestimated: they had probably rebelled on previous occasions; the Spartans would not have made their offer if they had not seriously feared another uprising; and the {50|51} choice between immediate individual freedom and the hope of future collective freedom could never have been easy, even for the most rebellious helot.

Sparta’s history of military activity within and outside Lacedaemonia, and the fact that after conquest serfdom was imposed upon the Messenians, presumably retained for the Cynourians, and probably intended for the Arcadians, makes it difficult to escape the conclusion that Laconian serfdom was also the product of conquest. The simplest scenario would be that the Spartans in the course of expansion reduced their victims to the status of either perioikoi or helots, depending on circumstances at which we can now only guess. Alternatively, we might imagine an early stage of expansion during which Sparta’s nearest neighbours were made perioikoi, and a later stage during which more distant victims in the southern plains of the Eurotas valley, and outside Laconia, were mostly forced into serfdom.

Penestai and perioikoi in Thessaly

Theopompus’ story of origins—that the penestai were created when the Thessalians first entered the region and subjected the Perrhaebians and Magnetes native to eastern Thessaly—is usually, and plausibly, taken to refer to the time of the Dorian migration. It should be noted, however, that Strabo, who also claimed that the penestai were descended from native Perrhaebians reduced to serfdom, said that they had been conquered by their neighbours, the Lapiths, a generation or two {54|55} before the Trojan War, rather than by Dorian invaders two generations after the fall of Troy. Some Perrhaebians took refuge in the mountains, but those who stayed behind became serfs (9.5.12, 19-20). Perhaps this is what Theopompus had in mind as well, or else we have two rival versions of this tradition.

Another tradition drew on the story, first found in Thucydides (1.12.3), that the Boeotians had once lived in Arne in western Thessaly, from where they were driven out by the Thessalians sixty years after the Trojan War. Others dated these events two or four generations after the fall of Troy. [70] Some added that not all Boeotians had left: some stayed behind “because they liked the country” and accepted a position of serfdom, as we are told in a fragment of Archemachus’ History of Euboea (FGrHist 424 F 1) which gives no date. This tradition flagrantly contradicted the Iliad which placed the Boeotians in Boeotia already during the Trojan War (2.494-510). Thucydides hypothesized that “a section” of the Boeotians had moved into the region long before the rest followed. Later sources had an even more ingenious explanation: the Boeotians did live in Boeotia, but were driven out to Thessaly by Pelasgian and Thracian invaders during the Trojan War, only to return again two or more generations later. [71] The most radical solution to the chronological problem appeared in the work of Pausanias Atticus, which referred to “the Boeotians who, having been defeated in Arne by Haemon, did not flee the slavery imposed upon them, but stayed until the third generation”. Haemon, father of Thessalus, ancestor of all Thessalians, dates long before the Trojan War, and this story thus claims that the Boeotians had once been serfs, but had escaped subjection, left Thessaly, and occupied Boeotia well before the Trojan War. [72]

A third strand of tradition, attested in a couple of commentaries on Aristophanes’ Wasps (1274), claims that the penestai were neither Perrhaebians nor Boeotians but close relatives of the Thessalians: descendants of a certain Penestes, himself descended from Thessalus.

So much for the history of collective Thessalian conquest, which perhaps began when the Thessalian cities were unified under a leader known as Aleuas the Red who institutionalised the mobilisation of Thessalian forces (Aristotle F 498 Rose). Individual Thessalian cities are likely to have engaged in campaigns of conquest against neighbours long before the region was more or less unified, and indeed to have continued waging such wars afterwards. Local wars may over the centuries have resulted in larger settlements seizing the territories of their weaker neighbours, and reducing the inhabitants to serfdom. The precise conditions would presumably have varied from place to place, but developments were sufficiently similar across the region to create in Thessaly a relatively small number of dominant cities, each surrounded by a large territory cultivated by their subject penestai. {57|58}

Dependent statuses in Crete

Little is known about the details of Cretan military and political history before the mid-fourth century BC, but the Cretans certainly had a reputation for bellicosity to rival Sparta’s: “in Sparta and Crete the system of education and the majority of laws are largely designed with a view to war”, both observing a rigid separation between the warrior class and those who cultivated the land for them (Aristotle, Politics 1324b7-9; 1329b1-5). Archaic Cretan attitudes to war are revealed by the so-called Song of Hybrias, which boasts:

I have great wealth: a spear, a sword, and the fine leather shield which protects one’s skin. For with this I plough, with this I harvest, with this I trample the sweet wine from the vines, with this I am called master of the serfs (mnoia).

Those who dare not hold a spear, a sword, and the fine leather shield which protects one’s skin all cower at my knee and prostrate themselves, addressing me as “Master” and “Great King” (Skolion 909 Page).

This drinking song does not merely claim that warriors live off the agricultural labour of serfs and are treated with the greatest respect, but strongly implies that good fighters will make serfs of the weak. The Song of Hybrias thus affords a unique glimpse of an archaic ideology which regards the imposition of serfdom as a legitimate and admirable goal of war. It must remain uncertain when serfs first appeared in Crete, but it seems clear that serf populations continued to be created through conquest in the archaic age.

4. Serfdom and conquest: some other candidates

In the cities and regions we have considered so far, the presence of a dependent labour force “between free men and slaves” is explicitly attested by ancient evidence, and in each case we can plausibly trace its origins back to archaic—in some cases perhaps earlier—conquests. In several other areas we have either clear evidence for a serf population, but without any indication of its possible origins, or evidence for {61|62} archaic wars of conquest resulting in some form of subjection without clear evidence that this entailed the imposition of serfdom. None of these cases can stand by itself, but their cumulative effect is to suggest that the archaic period saw many communities at least temporarily reduced to serf or perioikic status.

Locris and Phocis

Megarian tears

A classical story explained the proverbs “Godlike Corinth” and “Megarian tears” as follows:

There were other versions of the tale, recorded centuries later in proverb collections, which said that the Megarians went to Corinth to lament on only one occasion, at the death of the daughter of their king Clytius, who had married a certain Bacchius of Corinth (Zenobius 5.8), or that it was a Megarian queen who once forced her people to make lamentation at their own king’s funeral (Diogenianus 6.34; Apostolius 11.10). These later versions are easily understood as attempts to clean up the earlier story, from a Megarian point of view, by removing the stigma of once having been so humiliated by their neighbours. The original tale, however, is not so easily explained away. It was of no significance to the explanation of the expression “godlike Corinth”, which actually hinged on a confrontation between a Corinthian envoy and irate Megarians and did not need an invented period of Bacchiad domination to make sense. It also seems too elaborate to have been invented just to account for the expression “Megarian tears”, especially since a simpler explanation—that the Megarians were famous garlic growers (Zenobius 5.8; Apostolius 11.10)—lay to hand. [

It is hard to say whether the Megarians were temporarily reduced to perioikoi, obliged to send mourners to the funerals of Bacchiad kings, or even to the position of serfs, each family forced to weep crocodile tears at their master’s funeral—but both scenarios are possible.

The “dusty feet” of Epidaurus

Hollow Elis and the “yokels” of Pisa

5. Helots and Indians: forced labour in a conquest society

The roles and treatment of Indians were thus almost identical to those of conquest serfs in ancient Greece, and whatever the legal niceties of their position, the status of both was in practice clearly “between free men and slaves”, and they long remained so despite often living at great distances from their masters and greatly outnumbering the conquerors.

We have seen hints that in Greece, too, regimes of exploitation were subject to change. The limited evidence makes it impossible to trace these developments, but what happened after the Spanish conquest may provide a useful model. When a Greek city was conquered, a large section of the native elite would take refuge abroad, rather than submit to the new rulers, but some will usually have remained behind. A gradual undermining by the conquerors of local political and social structures would help explain how communities which were once stratified and politically organised could be reduced to villages with a barely differentiated population of serfs. As suggested earlier, historical changes and divergences in degrees of exploitation and intervention could also account for real social and economic differences between serf populations, as between Messenian and Laconian helots.

The single biggest problem encountered by the Spanish colonial administration was to prevent encomenderos from negating the gains of conquest through overexploitation. “The conquest of Central America and the two decades after it bear more resemblance to a large raid than to an occupation” because most conquistadores had come {69|70} “to accumulate booty or wealth as rapidly as possible so that they could return to wealth and prestige in Spain” (MacLeod 1973, 47). They did not want to settle down as the master of an encomienda which demanded some care and attention in exchange for unspectacular tributes. Not only did colonising expeditions literally turn into slave raids, but many encomenderos resorted to illegally seizing their peers’ and their own tribute-paying Indians and selling them into slavery, leaving some regions virtually depopulated. The Spanish government responded with law after law prohibiting the sale of Indians. Since masters would find excuses to travel abroad with large Indian retinues, only to sell their attendants as soon as they reached a remote enough area, the law ultimately forbade them to take Indians outside their native regions at all. [111] The parallel with Greek rules against selling serfs abroad (or manumitting them—at a price) is irresistible. Rather than a “contract” made with the defeated enemy, as the sources present it, or a humanitarian measure, these restrictions were imposed by conquering communities to ensure that the greed of individual citizens did not deplete the native labour force to the point where the occupied land became impossible to exploit. [112]

6. Conclusion: Helots in context

Sparta’s conquest of Messenia was no anomaly, but merely the most spectacular and best attested instance of a form of imperialism characteristic of archaic Greece. In large parts of northern Greece (Thessaly, Locris and Phocis), most of the Peloponnese (Sicyon, Argos, Corinth, Epidaurus and Elis, as well as Sparta and Messenia), all of Crete, and parts of the colonial world (Syracuse, Byzantium, Heraclea, and Cyrene) communities succeeded in reducing their Greek or barbarian neighbours to the status of serfs or perioikoi. The earliest datable conquests of this type were made by Corinth and Syracuse in the eighth century BC, which is perhaps also when Sparta conquered Laconia and Argos began subjecting its neighbours. In none of the other areas need expansion have begun earlier. The latest datable wars which resulted in the creation of serfs fell in the decades 580-560 BC, when Sicyon, Elis and Heraclea first established their power. At the very same time Argos probably entered a new phase of conquest, the Thessalians reached the limits of their expansion, and the Spartans tried but failed to do to Arcadia what they had done to Messenia.

Another wave of liberations occurred a century later, in the years 370-364 BC, when outside intervention set free the Messenians and Pisatans, while popular uprisings led by tyrants led to the emancipation of the Mariandynians and probably the remnant of Sicyon’s serfs, all in quick succession. The spread of chattel slavery in Locris and Phocis, and the apparent liberation of penestai at Larissa by {72|73} Philip II, in the course of the next two decades suggest a wider historical trend against the exploitation of serf labour. Again Sparta was part of these developments, and again it went against the flow by tenaciously hanging on to its remaining serfs, albeit at the cost of manumitting several thousand Laconian helots.

These problems with the sources are compounded by a disinclination among scholars to see wars of conquest and widespread serfdom in archaic Greece, because these phenomena do not fit current models of archaic warfare and the exploitation of labour, respectively.


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Ste. Croix, G. E. M. de. 1981. The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World. London.

Salmon, J. 1972. “The Heraeum at Perachora and the Early History of Corinth and Megara.” Annual of the British School at Athens 67:159-204.

Shaw, P.-J. 1999. “Olympiad Chronography and ‘Early’ Spartan History.” In Hodkinson and Powell 1999:273-309.

Sherman, W. 1979. Forced Native Labor in Sixteenth-Century Central America. Lincoln.

Shipley, G. 1997. “‘The Other Lakedaimonians’: The Dependent Perioikic Poleis of Laconia and Messenia.” The Polis as an Urban Centre and as a Political Community. (Acts of the Copenhagen Polis Centre 4), ed. M. H. Hansen, 189-281. Copenhagen.

Snodgrass, A. M. 1980. Archaic Greece: The Age of Experiment. London.

–––. 2001. The Dark Age of Greece. Edinburgh. Orig. pub. 1971.

Stein, H. 1881. Herodotos. Band IV, Buch VII. Berlin.

Tomlinson, R. 1972. Argos and the Argolid. London.

van Wees, H. 1998. “Greeks Bearing Arms.” Archaic Greece: New Approaches and New Evidence, ed. N. Fisher and H. van Wees, 333-378. London.

–––. 1999a/2002. “Homer and Early Greece.” Homer: Critical Assessments. I de Jong ed., 1-32. London. (Corrected reprint in Colby Quarterly: 94-117).

–––. 1999b. “The Mafia of Early Greece.” Organised Crime in Antiquity, ed. K. Hopwood, 1-51. London.

–––. 1999c. “Tyrtaeus’ Eunomia: Nothing to Do with the Great Rhetra.” In Hodkinson and Powell 1999:1-41.

–––. Forthcoming. Greek Warfare. Myths and Realities. London.

Vidal-Naquet, P. 1986. The Black Hunter. Baltimore.

West, S. 1988. A Commentary on Homer’s Odyssey. Vol. I. Cambridge.

Whitehead, D. 1981. “The Serfs of Sicyon.” Liverpool Classical Monthly 6:37-41.

Willetts, R. 1955. Aristocratic Society in Ancient Crete. London.

Zorita, A. de. 1963. The Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain (c. 1570). Trans. B. Keen as Life and Labor in Ancient Mexico. New Brunswick.


[ back ] 1. “Serf” and “serfdom” are used here, not in any of their technical senses, but merely as a convenient shorthand to denote a slave-like status which does not entail outright chattel slavery.

[ back ] 2. Dorian conquest: e.g. Lotze 1959: 69-77; Murray 1993: 153; cf. section 3, below. A process of internal subjection was assumed as the norm by Moses Finley, who placed helots and other groups “between free men and slaves” in the same bracket as debt-bondsmen, clients, and coloni, labelling all of these as “the half-free within” (1964: 128-130), an “internal [labour] force” (1973: 66-70). Finley left room for “force of arms” as a means of creating a “half-way type” of unfree labour (1973: 66), no doubt with Messenian helots and colonial serf populations in mind, but his argument requires that conquest was the exception. He stressed the contrast between exploitation of an internal labour force, which created a “spectrum of statuses”, and exploitation of an externally acquired labour force (chattel slaves), which created a sharp polarization of free and unfree (e.g. 1959: 98; 1964: 132): this contrast would have been fatally undermined if “internal” labour forces had in fact often been subjected outsiders as well. Ian Morris adopted Finley’s model (while applying it to earlier historical developments: 1987: esp. 187, 196); other scholars nod towards Finley’s approach—and are sceptical about the historicity of the Dorian conquest—but end up merely suspending judgment: e.g. Austin and Vidal-Naquet 1977: 65, 86; Snodgrass 1980: 87-91 (esp. p. 89: “rightly or wrongly”); Garlan 1988: 95-96 (“whichever of the two solutions is favoured”).

[ back ] 3. This chapter adopts several of the important new ideas about the history of Messenian helotage recently developed by Nino Luraghi (and summarised by him in this volume), but also takes issue with some of his ideas, above all his contention that “in Greek history, there is not a single case of a city being conquered and its citizens being kept there as slaves of the conquerors” (2002: 237) and indeed that “mass enslavement of an indigenous population is an inherently unlikely explanation” for the origins of serfdom (this volume, p. 109; cf. 2002: 236).

[ back ] 4. So Alonso de Zorita in his Brief and Summary Relation of the Lords of New Spain, c. 1570 (1963: 217218). Orlando Patterson singled out the Spanish conquest of the Americas as a rare modern example of enslavement “en masse and in situ” (1982: 110, 113).

[ back ] 5. The most convincing chronology of the Messenian Wars is established by Parker 1993.

[ back ] 6. Luraghi (this volume, pp. 114-5; cf. 2002: 235-6) notes that FF 6 and 7 do not name the Messenians and might refer to some other “dependent labour force”; he also points out that the only explicit statement in Tyrtaeus about the inhabitants of “Messene” (which, Luraghi points out, may not have meant the entire region later known as Messenia) is that they left their land. While this is true, we should give some weight to the fact that Pausanias (4.14.1-5) and his probable source Myron of Priene, who knew the whole poem, thought that FF 6 and 7 did refer to Messenians. It is, moreover, highly likely that FF 5, 6 and 7 were closely linked in the original text: in F 5.7, the people who leave their farmlands are introduced with the words hoi men, which suggests that they are the first half of a contrasting pair, indicated by the common men … de construction (used by Tyrtaeus in FF 4.3-5, 10.29, 11.5-6 and 1114, 23.8-10 West). If so, the poem will have continued by introducing (with the words hoi de) a second group of inhabitants of “Messene”, who did not flee, but stayed behind and accepted servitude, a status then colourfully described in FF 6 and 7 (cf. Hodkinson, this volume, p. 256).

[ back ] 7. For the label “helots”, see below. Individual masters: Hodkinson 2000: 113-116; Luraghi, this volume, p. 114: “people held in a relation of personal dependence, rather than a submitted community”. Forced lamentation for individual masters is to be distinguished from the duty to mourn at royal funerals mentioned by Herodotus (6.58), although Pausanias conflates the two by explaining “masters” as “kings and other officials” (4.14.4; cf. Hodkinson 2000: 237-238; Ducat 1990: 60). The perception of forced mourning as particularly “slavish” led Herodotus to stress that in Sparta even representatives of (free) citizen families and (free) perioikic communities mourned at royal funerals “under compulsion”, a custom paralleled only among (slavish) barbarians; that (unfree) helots were also compelled to do so was unremarkable to him and he mentions this only in passing. For the same reason, Aelian stressed that the Spartans imposed the duty to lament on “free” Messenian women, i.e. women who had been free until the moment of conquest: one should not infer that Aelian thought that the Messenians remained free even after their defeat (contra Luraghi 2002: 236).

[ back ] 8. Plutarch Moralia 194b and Aelian VH 13.42, with the discussion of this date in Parker 1993.

[ back ] 9. Attested only by Plato Laws 692d, 698e, but see esp. Shaw 1999: 275-276, and Hunt 1998: 28-31.

[ back ] 10. Another wave of emigration occurred a generation later, c. 460 BC, when defeated Messenian rebels left to settle in Naupactus (Thucydides 1.103.1-3); a Spartan treaty with Tegea forbidding the allies to harbour Messenians may reveal early worries about a draining away of manpower (Aristotle F 592 Rose; for its interpretation and possible dates, see Braun 1994, and Hall, this volume, pp. 151-2). The importation of chattel slaves and other dependents is plausibly suggested by Luraghi. The prominence and persistence of tomb cult in Messenia, noted in this volume by Hall, p. 160, and Hodkinson, p. 274, does suggest a general continuity of habitation, and indeed, as Hall attractively suggests, an attempt by the native population to identify themselves as “Achaeans”.

[ back ] 11. As pointed out by Luraghi 2002: 236 with n. 25 (“it must be the sharecropping arrangement that made this condition … different from Helotry”), and this volume, p. 131, noting the contrast between Pausanias 4.14.4-5 and 4.23.2, 24.5. Cf. Kiechle 1959: 57-62.

[ back ] 12. Pausanias’ source here was the third-century author Myron of Priene (4.6.2), whose understanding of the position of helots may well have been based primarily on the Laconian helots of his own day (FGrHist 106 FF 1-2). The fixed tribute obligations of the latter are described by Plutarch Lycurgus 8.4, 24.3 and Moralia 239e (with the discussion in Hodkinson 2000: 89, 125-126).

[ back ] 13. Funerals: Hodkinson 2000: 264 n.5 (see also n. 7 above). Military service: the 35,000 helots mobilised by Sparta in 479 BC must have included Messenians (Herodotus 9.28-9).

[ back ] 14. No sale or manumission: Ephorus FGrHist 70 F 117. No excess tribute: Plutarch Moralia 239e. See Ducat 1990: 57-59, and Hodkinson 2000: 117-118, 126. The “curse” laid on the overexploitative might well have applied when rents were proportional rather than a fixed share: see below, p. 70.

[ back ] 15. So Luraghi 2002: 233-234, 240-241; for another reconstruction of changes in Messenian helot status, see Figueira, this volume, pp. 220-7.

[ back ] 16. Isocrates Archidamus 22-3, claimed that the Spartans “acquired the territory after besieging the Messenians” in the first generation after the Dorian migration; Ephorus dated the “enslavement” of the Messenians another generation or more later, but still well before the war won by Theopompus (FGrHist 70 F 116, with Diodorus 15.66.2-3 and Nicolaus of Damascus FGrHist 90 F 31, 34).

[ back ] 17. Aristophanes Lysistrata 1150-6; Ecclesiazusae 724. Description: Pollux 7.68.

[ back ] 18. The point of the comparison between them and epeunaktai cannot be simply that they were slaves who had become citizens: if that is what Theopompus was trying to say, he could have said so, or at least picked a less arcane comparison, such as the Spartan neodamodeis.

[ back ] 19. Pollux 7.68 says that the katônakê became compulsory dress “in Sicyon under the tyrants and in Athens under the Peisistratids”. The idea that this happened in Athens as well surely derived from an over-literal reading of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata 1150-6, which speaks metaphorically of Athenians wearing the slave’s katônakê under the tyrants but the free man’s cloak after their liberation. Once this parallel had been drawn, others were invented: instead of katonakophoroi Sicyon’s serfs are called korynephoroi in various lists (Pollux 3.83; Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Chios; Etymologicum Gudianum s.v. Heilotai), on the analogy with Peisistratus’ body-guard of that name (cf. Whitehead 1981; Lotze 1985 = Lotze 2000: 57-68). Theopompus’ fragments as they stand are free from this muddle, and the mix-up is likely to be the result of several centuries of further speculation, compilation, and epitomizing.

[ back ] 20. Aristotle Politics 1315b17 (“warlike man”) and as cited in POxy. 1241, col.iii.2-12 (on Pellene).

[ back ] 21. Zenobius 1.57. Games: Pindar Olympian 7.86, 9.98, 13.109; Nemean 10.44 (468-464 BC).

[ back ] 22. Xenophon Hellenica 7.3.8, as convincingly explained by Cartledge 1980: 209-211. Theopompus’ use of epeunaktai as an analogy also suggests that not all serfs were emancipated at once, and that rights of intermarriage played a key role. Compare also the serfs of Argos and Heraclea, below.

[ back ] 23. See Ducat’s excellent analysis (1976) of the biases which shaped Herodotus’ version of this story and his suggestion that it originally referred to the naming of Sicyon’s serfs; but cf. n. 24 below.

[ back ] 24. Contra Ducat 1976, who assumes that this serf population was created, not by conquest, but by a process of internal differentiation which was formalised by Cleisthenes. This interpretation leaves unanswered the questions of why a “popular” tyrant (Aristotle Politics 1315b18) would want to antagonise his own (potential) supporters, and who the Aigialeis might have been. I would reject the theory that Cleisthenes championed the non-Doric element of the Sicyonian population, and that his power rested on exploiting “ethnic” tensions (Andrewes 1956: 58-61).

[ back ] 25. Lists, as cited in n.19 above, plus Eustathius, on Dionysius Periegesis 533.

[ back ] 26. So e.g. Tomlinson 1972: 68, 73-75, 99; Vidal-Naquet 1986: 210. I see no basis for Lotze’s argument (1959: 54; cf. 1971; adopted by Snodgrass 1980: 89; Morris 1987: 187) that the “naked people” might have been serfs once but were free citizens by the beginning of the archaic period.

[ back ] 27. Herodotus 6.83. Diodorus 10.26 and Pausanias 2.20.8 uses the term oiketai, which could simply mean “slaves”, but could also refer more specifically to serfs: see below, at n.78.

[ back ] 28. Isocrates 4.131 proposes to make the barbarians perioikoi of Greece, whereas in Ep. 3.5 he proposes to make the barbarians helots of the Greeks (as noted by Ste. Croix 1981: 160). Cretan serf populations are also called perioikoi by Aristotle, see below at n.78.

[ back ] 29. Tiryns was still independent in 479 BC (Herodotus 6.83; 9.28, 31) and in 468 BC when there was an Olympic victor from Tiryns (P.Oxy 222). Tirynthians made citizens after destruction of city: Pausanias 2.25.7 (their major cult statue was also taken by Argos and placed in the Heraion, Pausanias 2.17.5). Tirynthians fleeing: Herodotus 7.137; cf. Ephorus FGrHist 70 F 56 (to Halieis); Strabo 8.6.11 (to Epidaurus, confirmed by inscription discussed below).

[ back ] 30. Stephanus of Byzantium Ethnikon s.v. Dymanes, lists the three Dorian tribes and says “the Hyrnethia was added to these, according to Ephoros” (FGrHist 70 F 15). Hyrnathioi are first attested in two inscriptions of c. 460-450: IG4.517 (LSAG 164-165, 170 no. 32 = Nomima I.86) and Pierart 1992: 235 (Nomima I.65). Also in IG 4.487-488 (and 600-602, of Roman imperial date). Hyrnathioi did not yet exist (or have citizen rights) c. 575-550 BC, when Argive magistrates were numbered in multiples of three, implying three tribes only: IG IV.614; SEG XI.314 (LSAG 156-158, 168 nos. 7-8; Nomima I.87, 88). The parallel with Sicyon is noted by Lotze 1971: 104 = 2000: 79.

[ back ] 31. For Hyrnetho, see below, with n. 94.

[ back ] 32. LSAG 444F, 445 = Nomima II.28: “Callippus, suppliant/ son of Eucles/ of the Epidaurians/ from Apollo/Pythius, an Argive/ leader [archos] and serfs”. See Lambrinoudakis 1980: 57-59.

[ back ] 33. Thucydides 5.83.2. The date of Argos’ battle against the Spartans at Hysiae is probably not reliable: for a radical re-dating, see Shaw 1999.

[ back ] 34. Herodotus 7.202; 9.28.4. A Mycenaean decree from c. 525 BC also implies that the city was still independent (IG IV.493 = Nomima I.101); cf. Hall 1995: 610-611.

[ back ] 35. Decree: SEG 30.380 = Nomima I.78. Its significance, and the implications of the oracle, are noted by Hall 1995: 587; contra e.g. Tomlinson 1972: 77-78. Van Effenterre’s suggestion (Nomima I, p. 296) that the decree should be down-dated and interpreted as the product of a carnivalesque, topsy-turvy regime instituted during the revolt of the “slaves” is imaginative, but hardly very plausible. Argos is said to have destroyed Asine at the end of the First Messenian War (Pausanias 2.36.5; 3.7.4; 4.14.3) and Nauplia after the Messenian Revolt (Pausanias 4.24.4, 27.8, 35.2) after which Argos took Nauplia’s place in the Calaurian amphictyony (Strabo 8.6.14): in each case, according to tradition, the settlement was destroyed and its population driven out, rather than reduced to serfdom..

[ back ] 36. Ephorus placed Pheidon tenth in line from Temenos, which put the subjection of the Argolid in the early eighth century, but his inclination to date conquests early is evident from his treatment of the helots in Messenia (above) and Laconia (below). On the ancient trend to date Pheidon (and others) ever further back in time, and the corollary that Herodotus’ date is more reliable than the others, see Drews 1983; cf. Koiv 2001. Pheidon was linked with seventh-century Argive expansion by Andrewes 1956: 39-42.

[ back ] 37. Jonathan Hall’s demonstration (1995) from archaeological evidence that the Argive Heraion was not fully under Argive control until c. 450 BC fits very well with the fact that Mycenae was not conquered (and destroyed) by Argos until c. 460 BC. His claim that Tiryns and the eastern Argolid were not subjected until then either seems harder to maintain, in view of the literary evidence.

[ back ] 38. Orneai was an independent ally of Argos in 418 (Thucydides 5.66.2, 72.4) and once fought independently against Sicyon (Pausanias 10.18.4; Plutarch Moralia 401d), but was destroyed by Argos in 416 (Thucydides 6.7) which rules out the idea that Orneai was one of Argos’ earliest conquests and gave a collective name to all perioikoi acquired later (so Rawlinson 1880; Stein 1881; Macan 1908; and How and Wells 1928, ad loc., all following the interpretation of K.O. Muller in Die Dorier—non vidi). Orneai lay some distance to the northwest of Argos, while Cynouria lay to the south, which rules out the idea that Herodotus, as an afterthought to his sentence, was simply explaining where the Cynourians lived: “they are the people of Orneai and their neighbours” (Larsen 1936: col. 822; Gschnitzer 1958: 79 n.23). Masaracchia 1990, ad loc., declares the passage corrupt (and the Penguin translation of the Histories simply omits it).

[ back ] 39. The war against Mycenae is described in some detail by Diodorus 11.65.1-5; cf. Strabo 8.6.19. Diodorus lists the war under Olympiad 78 (468 BC), but also says that it happened shortly after the Messenian revolt which began in 464 (11.65.3), which would make better sense: the Argives first end the war with their former serfs before they attack their old, independent rival. That Pausanias lumps the destruction of Mycenae together with the dissolution of the subject towns proves nothing about the chronology or nature of these wars; he also includes the destruction of Orneai, which happened much later (8.27.1); cf. the chronologically mixed list in Strabo (8.6.11).

[ back ] 40. See above, p. 42, with n. 29.

[ back ] 41. Plato Laws 777c; Aristotle Politics 1327b12-15; cf. Athenaeus 263ce (for Euphorion, Poseidonius, and Callistratus FGrHist 348 F 4); Pollux 3.83; Pausanias Atticus K9, 33, with Ducat 1990: 33.

[ back ] 42. Contra Shipley 1997: 218.

[ back ] 43. For other possible cases, where the evidence seems to me insufficient, see n. 100, below.

[ back ] 44. So e.g. Willetts (1955: 47) who envisages a Dorian League invading Crete c. 1200 BC, but not establishing its overall dominance until about 800 BC (pp. viii, 231). There is uncertainty about the details of Theopompus’ story: he elsewhere (F 13) seems to imply that not all Laconians but only the people of Helos were native Achaeans (below, p. 49), and it is conceivable that he imagined that the enslavement of the Perrhaebians had taken place even before the Trojan war (below, pp. 53-4).

[ back ] 45. E.g. Snodgrass 2001: 296-323; Osborne 1996: 33-37; Hall 1997: 114-128.

[ back ] 46. For detailed discussion, see Luraghi, this volume, pp. 115-7; despite his reservations, it does appear from the phrase “they were named helots” that Antiochus was referring to the first creation of this status (as argued by Vidal-Naquet 1986: 177, and Ducat 1990: 7-8, 67).

[ back ] 47. It is worth stressing the implication of Ephorus’ account, as summarised by Strabo (8.5.4), that the Laconian helots were mostly Dorians (contra Luraghi, this volume, p. 125): after the native Achaeans had left the country, the whole of Laconia, including Helos, was divided up amongst those who had taken part in the conquest, i.e. Dorians; their relatively small numbers, however, were filled out by accepting “volunteers from abroad as fellow-settlers”. The popularity of Ephorus’ account, or something similar, is attested by Plutarch, who said that “most” authors attributed the subjection of Helos to Soos, Agis’ co-ruler (Lycurgus 2.1); Plutarch elsewhere recounted an episode from a war against helots set at the same early date (just before the foundation of Melos: Moralia 247ad; cf. Polyaenus 7.49). On Ephorus’ notion of a “contract of servitude”, see Ducat 1990: 70-76.

[ back ] 48. Pausanias 3.2.5 and 3.7.3; 3.2.6 (with 19.6, 22.6) and 3.7.4.

[ back ] 49. Pausanias 3.2.7, 3.20.6 and 3.7.5.

[ back ] 50. In parallel with the development of a story about a very early conquest of Messenia (above, p. 37).

[ back ] 51. “War against Messenians”, rather than “helots”: Herodotus 9.35, 64; Thucydides 1.101.2. This is not to say, of course, that Messenians’ sense of identity simply remained intact throughout the period of their subjection: it was clearly contested and developed in a variety of ways: see esp. Figueira 1999.

[ back ] 52. Early conquest: e.g. Cartledge 2002: 83-84. Lower class origins are implied by Luraghi 2002: 240241, and those who argue for a general process of internal differentiation (cf. n. 2, above).

[ back ] 53. Mycenaean Lacedaemon: Hall 2000: 85. Homer: Iliad 2.581-90; Odyssey 3.326, 4.1, 21.13.

[ back ] 54. For estate management in Laconia and Messenia, see Hodkinson, this volume, esp. pp. 225-6, 2639 for his interpretation of survey findings; cf. Luraghi 2002: 231-232.

[ back ] 55. Royal estates: Xenophon Spartan Constitution 15.3. Tribute: [Plato] Alcibiades I 123a; Strabo 8.5.4 (and perhaps Hesychius s.v. kalame), despite the scepticism of Cartledge 2002: 155. Mourning: see n. 7 above. On perioikic status, see further Shipley 1997: 201-216.

[ back ] 56. See e.g. Hall 2000: 83-85; Cartledge 2002: 84-86. Land grants to allies, see below, n. 57.

[ back ] 57. Pausanias 4.14.3 (Asine), 24.4 (Nauplia); Thucydides 2.27 (Aegina). The parallel explains the Odyssey passage, which has puzzled some commentators, who have unnecessarily suggested that the verb exalapazein, “destroy”, here uniquely means “to empty” or “to evacuate” (e.g. West 1988, ad loc.).

[ back ] 58. Herodotus 1.82 (Cynouria) and 1.66 (Arcadia), with e.g. Cartledge 2002: 118-123.

[ back ] 59. For Pausanias, Helos was still inhabited by pre-Dorian natives (3.2.7) when it was destroyed by the Spartans, and its inhabitants were “the first to be called Helots, after what they really were”, i.e. inhabitants of Helos (3.20.6); similarly Ephorus FGrHist 70 F 117 (“the Heleioi, who held Helos”) and Theopompus FGrHist 115 F 13 (“the Heleatai who used to live in a place called Helos in Laconia”). Hellanicus FGrHist 4 F 188 and “many” others (Harpocration s.v. heiloteuein) said that the helots were “the first to be defeated of those who lived in the city Helos”. Only Antiochus’ version, in the brief paraphrase that survives, does not refer to Helos, though it is conceivable that in the full version the people of Helos were named as the Lacedaemonians who refused to serve against Messenia. (If so, we would have to conclude that Antiochus did not regard them as the fathers of the Partheniai, whose story follows immediately, or that Antiochus, like Polybius [12.6b] but unlike others, regarded the Partheniai as sons of helots: see Ogden 1997: 73-74, contra Nafissi 1999: 254255; Luraghi, this volume, pp. 115-6).

[ back ] 60. Modern etymology: e.g. Cartledge 2002: 83. For ancient discussions, see Ducat 1990: 9-10, noting that “curiously this etymology remains implicit”.

[ back ] 61. Even if the conquest was historical, the explanation of the name “helot” built on it was surely false.

[ back ] 62. Contra Vidal-Naquet 1986: 178 (an “absurd story”). The Helos plain: Hodkinson 2000: 138-140.

[ back ] 63. Neither Antiochus nor Pausanias had any reason to invent a late date. The creation of helots is of no relevance to the story about the Partheniai which Antiochus tells. The date adopted by Pausanias forced him to assume that the Dorian migration originally reached Sparta but not the rest of Laconia, and in effect resumed four centuries later, which is curious in itself and clashes with the legend that in the Dorian migration the whole of Laconia had fallen to the kings of Sparta. If these authors nevertheless stuck with their date, perhaps they did so because it was supported by a strong tradition.

[ back ] 64. Ducat 1994: 75-86; Menon’s penestai: Demosthenes 13.23; 23.199; cf. Ducat 1994: 24-29, 71-72. Private ownership: also Theocritus Idylls 16. 34-35; Euripides Phrixos F 830 Nauck2. Military service also: Xenophon Hellenica 6.1.11 (Ducat 1994: 62-63); IG IX 2, 234, lines 1-3 (late third century BC; Ducat 1994: 107-113). Restriction of masters’ power: Strabo 12.3.4; Archemachus FGrHist 424 F 1; Photius and Suda s.v. penestai (= Pausanias Atticus). On the possibility of manumission, see Ducat 1994: 72-73.

[ back ] 65. Rations: see Ducat 1994: 46-48, citing Hesiod Works & Days 766-767. Labourers, clients: Dionysius of Halicarnassus 2.9; cf. Euripides F 830 N2 (latris). “Waged slaves”: scholia on Aristophanes Wasps 1274; Etymologicum Gudianum s.v. heilotes. See also Ducat 1994: 17-18, 30-36, 71-72.

[ back ] 66. Archemachus FGrHist 424 F 1; Strabo 9.5.19-20 (where the word penestai is not used, but they are clearly meant; see also n. 69 below). Archemachus’ account is apologetic in tone and could perhaps be dismissed as an idealising misrepresentation of the position of the penestai (see Ducat 1994: 14-16), but Strabo’s comment cannot be explained away on those grounds.

[ back ] 67. Theocritus is probably drawing on the poetry of Simonides (Ducat 1994: 46-48), and may reflect an archaic situation; Strabo and Archemachus may have projected back a later situation.

[ back ] 68. Quotations: Aristotle Politics 1264a35, 1269a37; cf. Plato Laws 776cd, 777c. Plotted revolt in 406: Xenophon Hellenica 2.3.36 (Ducat [1994: 103-104] is surely too sceptical when he suggests that this episode may have been the only basis for claims that the penestai were particularly rebellious).

[ back ] 69. Strabo 9.5.19, claiming that tributes were levied “until Philip took power”, presumably referring to his interventions in the late 340s (see e.g. Hammond 1994: 118-119). Polyaenus 4.2.19 claims that Philip tended to intervene on the side of “the people”. See Ducat 1994: 107-113, on enfranchisement of penestai in the second century BC in Pharsalus.

[ back ] 70. Two generations: Strabo 9.2.3; cf. 9.2.5, 29. Four generations: Diodorus 19.53.7-8.

[ back ] 71. Strabo 9.2.3, 25, 29; Diodorus 19.53.7-8.

[ back ] 72. Pausanias Atticus n 16 (p. 204 Erbse) (= Photius and Suda s.v. penestai). For Haemon, see Strabo 9.5.23. Discussion in Ducat 1994: 38-40; cf. 93-98. I would reject his suggestion that the details of this version are garbled and can be dismissed as mere mistakes. For penestai as Boeotians, see also Polyaenus 1.12; cf. Philocrates FGrHist 601 F 2.

[ back ] 73. It may be significant that the commentaries note that “this system of penestai had been dissolved and afterwards they called poor men and labourers penestai”; Ducat (1994: 17-20), however, argues that this idea was an invention by the scholiasts, based on a misunderstanding of Aristophanes’ joke.

[ back ] 74. As noted by Andrewes 1971: 34; see further van Wees 1999a: 14-15 = 2002: 108-110.

[ back ] 75. Ammonius 386, p. 100 Nickau. Cf. Athenaeus 264a: “those who are not slaves by birth, but were taken in war”; Suda s.v. penestai: “those who had been defeated in the war and served and became the slaves of the victors”; also Theopompus FGrHist 115 F 122b: “free men who serve as slaves”.

[ back ] 76. The best-known Scopas was the exceptionally rich patron of Simonides, in the late sixth century (Simonides FF 4, 32 Diehl; Athenaeus 438c; Plutarch Moralia 527c; Cato Maior 18; Cicero, De Oratore 2.86.352). His grandfather is referred to as “the old Scopas” (Athenaeus ibid.; Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 11.2.14), which means that he, too, was well-known for something: this must have been the victories in war implied, and the consequent regulation of tribute referred to, by Xenophon.

[ back ] 77. Boeotia: Plutarch On the Malice of Herodotus 33; Life of Camillus 19.2; cf. Pausanias 9.14.2. The battle of Keressos was linked to the battle of Leuctra in various ways, and clearly had a similar historical significance in Boeotian eyes, so it is not unlikely that the fairly precise date given in the second passage—“more than 200 years before” Leuctra, i.e. c. 575 BC—was remembered in local tradition. That Plutarch in the first passage dates the same event to “a short while” before the Persian Wars is no obstacle to accepting this date: it suited Plutarch’s rhetorical and polemical point to play down the chronological distance, and in the long view of an author writing six centuries after the war, another century earlier may well have seemed “a short while”. Wars with Phocis: Plutarch Moralia 244ae; Herodotus 8.27-28; Pausanias 10.1.3, 10-11; Polyaenus 6.18.2, 8.65; Polybius 16.32. For the nature and chronology of archaic Thessalian expansion, see Helly 1995; Ellinger 1993; Ducat 1973.

[ back ] 78. Politics 1272a1, 18-22; cf. 1271a29; the term perioikoi is used also at 1271b31, 1272b19; that many cities all over Crete have their own perioikoi is made clear at 1269b3.

[ back ] 79. See Sosicrates FGrHist 461 F 4 and Dosiadas FGrHist 458 F 3, cited with other passages at Athenaeus 263f-264a. The term klarotai is attested in Ephorus FGrHist70 F 29 and Aristotle F 586 Rose; mnoia occurs in an archaic poem (see below); woikeus and doulos are used in inscribed Cretan laws, esp. the Gortyn Code. For a recent discussion of the terminology, see Link 2001, who shows that woikeus and doulos are used as synonyms, and questions the validity of the distinction between private and public slaves made by our (late) sources.

[ back ] 80. See Willetts 1955: 49-51, for the evidence from the Gortyn Code and other laws.

[ back ] 81. Chaniotis 1996: 160-168 and texts 64 (early 3rd century) and 69 (late third/early second century).

[ back ] 82. See Aristotle Politics 1271b25-33; Ephorus FGrHist 70 F 117-18, 146, 149; Konon FGrHist 26 F 1.36, 1.47; Nicolaus of Damascus FGrHist 90 F 28; Plutarch Moralia 247bf, 296bd. Spartan traditions: Malkin 1994: 76-80; Argive colonies: Graham 1964: 154-165.

[ back ] 83. Strabo 10.4.6; implicit already in Herodotus 7.170 where the only remaining groups of Cretan natives are from Praisos (Eteocretans) and Polichna (Cydonians).

[ back ] 84. This last conceit was evidently developed by adapting a story told by Herodotus about a different group of half-Pelasgians, who came from Lemnos, settled in Sparta—on Mount Taygetus this time— and left after a failed rebellion to settle abroad, some colonising Thera under Spartan leadership, others migrating to Triphylia (4.145-8); cf. Malkin 1994: 73-85, who argues for its historicity.

[ back ] 85. Malkin (1994: 79-80) argues that they do refer to historical colonisations; but his eighth century date rests on the assumption that the helots who feature in these stories are Messenians (pp. 77-78): in fact they are Laconian helots and the date is shortly after the Dorian migration (see above, n. 47).

[ back ] 86. Plutarch Moralia 247ef (a story about the class of funerary experts called “cremators”, katakautai, allegedly formed to deal with the many casualties) and 296bd; Aristotle Politics 1271b25-33.

[ back ] 87. Ephorus FGrHist 70 F 149 already pointed out that Cretan cities which were not “colonies” of Sparta nevertheless had the same institutions; he also explicitly spoke of serfs at Cydonia (F 29); see above, nn. 78-79, for the presence of serfs in all parts of Crete.

[ back ] 88. Tod no. 24; for translation see Graham 1964: 226-228; Fornara 1983: 47-49. For woikiatai as serfs, see e.g. Vidal-Naquet 1986: 212; compare also the Argive inscription cited above, n. 32.

[ back ] 89. Thucydides 1.5.1-6.2; on bearing arms see van Wees 1998. A mid-fifth century treaty between two West Locrian cities attempts to control mutual raiding: Tod I, no. 34; see Fornara 1983: 87-88.

[ back ] 90. The story is attributed to Demon (FGrHist 327 F 19), but may go back to Ephorus (FGrHist 70 F 19). For further details of the sources and their variants, see Salmon 1972: 197-198.

[ back ] 91. John Salmon took the opposite view, arguing that “Zenobius … has circumstantial detail [i.e. the name Clytius, ‘famous’ ?] which is not likely to have been invented” and that “Demon has written a garbled version of the tradition preserved by Zenobius” (1972: 198), but this seems less plausible.

[ back ] 92. As suggested by Hammond 1954: 97. Early Corinthian imperialism: Plutarch Moralia 295BC; land “cut off” and restored by Orsippus: IG VII.52 (Orsippus was credited with an Olympic victory in 720 BC). Plutarch’s list of Megarian villages suggests that the Perachora region, later part of Corinthian territory (e.g. Xenophon Hellenica 4.5.1-5), was once part of Megara, and Strabo (8.6.22) said the same about Crommyon. Archaeology has uncovered many Corinthian-made artefacts in Perachora and Corinthian-style burials in Crommyon in the eighth century, but that does not tell us who was in control: Megara at the time used “only orthodox Corinthian ware” and its burial customs are unknown (Coldstream 1977: 86, 172), so that we cannot tell whether the graves and artefacts came from Corinth or Megara (contra Salmon 1972, 1984: 48).

[ back ] 93. So Garlan 1988: 95, 99; Fisher 1993: 33.

[ back ] 94. Pausanias 2.19.1, 2.23.3, 2.28.3, 2.29.5; Nicolaus of Damascus FGrHist 90 F 30.

[ back ] 95. New tribal names: IG 42.1.28 (146 BC), 96, 102-103, 106, 108. See Jones 1987: 107-111.

[ back ] 96. Strabo 8.3.30 = Ephorus FGrHist 70 F 115 (cf. Strabo 8.3.2 and 33), mentioning tribute and dating the final conquest to after the Second Messenian War. Pausanias 6.22.2-4 (cf. 5.6.4, 5.8.5, 5.16.5-6), giving a date not long after 588; the first appointment of two Elean presidents to run the Games in 580 (5.9.4) suggests a similar date; Eusebius (Chronica I 194ff Schone) has Pisatan control end in 572. The payment of tribute (of one talent) by one of the towns is confirmed by Thucydides 5.31.2-4.

[ back ] 97. Xenophon Hellenica 3.2.23-31 (Triphylia), 7.4.28-9; Pausanias 5.9.6, 6.4.2, 6.8.3, 6.22.3 (Pisatis).

[ back ] 98. Hellenica 3.2.31 and 3.2.23 for perioikoi as “spoils of war”. Cf. Roy 1997: 291-292.

[ back ] 99. Synoecism: Diodorus Siculus 11.54.1; Strabo 8.3.2; cf. Moggi 1976: 157-66. The loss of Pisatis in 364 led directly to a reduction of the number of Elean tribes from 12 to 8 (Pausanias 5.9.6), so by this date, at any rate, the Pisatans belonged to the tribes, and probably simply formed four distinct tribes. For a discussion of the synoecism and its effect on Elis’ subjects, see Roy 1997: esp. 286-289.

[ back ] 100. Gergithes of Miletus: Garlan 1988: 105 (but Gorman 2001: 102-107, is rightly sceptical). Ellopians of Euboea: Asheri 1975: n.28 (tentatively). Kylikranes of Trachis: Asheri 1975; Ducat 1994: 108-109.

[ back ] 101. So a Spanish colonial judge, quoted in Zorita 1963: 217. For the population figures, see the statistics in Sherman 1979: 3-8, 347-370.

[ back ] 102. Quotations from Kramer 1994: 3, and Sherman 1979: 321 (cf. p. 85; and at p. 136 a contemporary is cited for the judgment that “the encomienda Indians … were no better off than slaves”).

[ back ] 103. Kramer 1994: 247; cf. p. 221.

[ back ] 104. Sherman 1979: 337-338; cf. 92-93. Further abuses: Zorita 1963: 213-215.

[ back ] 105. Lutz 1994: 22-23; cf. Kramer 1994: 220-221 and 247 (Alvarado); Sherman 1979: 85-128, 191-259, and 305-313 on the services demanded from Indian women in particular.

[ back ] 106. Sherman 1979: 59, 106; cf. Herodotus 9.28-29.

[ back ] 107. Kramer 1994: 210-218; Sherman 1979: 85-86, 263-275.

[ back ] 108. On archaic Greek regimes of landownership, see van Wees 1999b, 1999c: 2-6; Link 1991.

[ back ] 109. Sherman 1969: 263-303, esp. 276-277; cf. Kramer 1994: 210.

[ back ] 110. MacLeod 1973: 121-122; Lutz 1994: 20-22; Kramer 1994: 213-216.

[ back ] 111. Sherman 1979: 39-63, esp. 47-48; MacLeod 1973: 47, 50-56; Zorita 1963: 202.

[ back ] 112. On the “contract of servitude” in the sources, see Ducat 1990: 70-76, 1994: 72, who points out that in fact such measures are vital to any system which does not have an external supply of labour.

[ back ] 113. Conflict among conquerors: Kramer 1994: 201, 213-216; Sherman 1979: 43. Government controls: Sherman 1979: 9-12, 88-89, 129-188. Repartimiento: Sherman 1979: 191-259. Curse: see above, n.14.

[ back ] 114. For reassessments of the evidence usually taken to show that the Spartan culture of “austerity” was established by the mid-sixth century, see Hodkinson 1998 (dedications) and Powell 1998 (iconography), who show that the transformation may well have taken place significantly later.

[ back ] 115. The change was gradual, so there is room for debate as to how long the forced labour system lasted, but Sherman (1979: 12, 337-338) sees its essentials still in place in 1630s, i.e. more than a century after the first conquests in mainland Central America in 1523.

[ back ] 116. MacLeod 1973: 124-128 (Central America); Keith 1976: 130-136 (Peru); Frank 1979: 4-7 (Mexico).

[ back ] 117. For these revolts, see above, at nn. 9-10.

[ back ] 118. See Hunt 1998.

[ back ] 119. See esp. Hanson 1995, 1998: 202-205, 2000; Ober 1985, 1996; Pritchett 1974: 147-189; Detienne 1968: 123.

[ back ] 120. See several important studies by Peter Krentz (1997, 2000, 2002); also van Wees, forthcoming.

[ back ] 121. See Finley 1959: 114-115, 1960: 149, 1964: 132, 1965: 166, 1973: 70, 1980: 146, 1982: 271-273; he is followed by, for instance, Snodgrass 1980: 87-95; Vidal-Naquet 1986: 163-164; Garlan 1988: 39-40; Manville 1991: 132-133; Garnsey 1996: 4; more cautiously also by Ducat 1990: 78; Fisher 1993: 15-21. Even scholars who fundamentally disagree with Finley’s approach and concepts have tended to accept the essentials of his model (Ste. Croix 1981: 141-142; Cartledge 1988: 36). I am aware of only one recent challenge to Finley’s ideas: Rihll 1996.

[ back ] 122. So also Luraghi 2002: 240-241, and cf. Link 1991.

[ back ] 123. Earlier incarnations of this paper were delivered at the Harvard conference, the Triennial meeting in Oxford and at research seminars in London and Oxford. The response from organisers and participants on each occasion has had a profound influence on the argument and shape of this final version, and I am grateful to all concerned, notably to Simon Corcoran, Jonathan Hall, Rebecca Flemming and, above all, Nino Luraghi for their particularly detailed and insightful comments.